Panzarino Sets Three Receiving Records in 21-17 Win Over Widener
MADISON, N.J. (November 2, 2018) - The FDU-Florham football team knocked off Widener 21-17 in a driving rainstorm Friday evening. Senior Mike Panzarino set three records on Friday evening. He passed former teammate Malik Pressley as the career-leader in both receptions (251) and receiving yards (2,991), as well as in his single-season receptions (92). With eight catches next week, Panzarino becomes the first Devils receiver in school-history to record 100 catches in a season. The Devils move to 6-3 on the season, only the third time in program history they've hit six wins. It also was the first time in 19 meetings that FDU had knocked off the Pride. After FDU went three and out on their first possession, Widener needed only three plays open the scoring. Quarterback Mitchell Vierling hit Pat Downey for a 14 yard score; Downey notched 59 yards receiving on the drive, to give the guests an early lead. The Devils were driving on the next series, but Alnazir Blackman fumbled deep in Pride territory. The Devils forced a punt, and needed just three plays to level the game at seven on the ensuing possession. Freshman Frank DiMattina hauled in a 31 yard score from senior Jagger Green, his first collegiate touchdown. The Pride scored the remaining points of the first quarter, as Larry Eimer connected from 52 yards away, putting the visitors up 10-7. Senior Robert Planter made a big stop near midfield early in the second, foiling a 4th and 2 rushing attempt. Planter stopped the runner at the line before the swarm of Devils defenders bottled him up. Neither side was able to break through, and the teams went into the half with a 10-7 lead. Much like it has done all season, the Devils special teams unit turned in a big play. With Eimer lining up for a 36 yard field goal, junior Jose Caceres broke through the line and blocked the kick. After a three and out, the unit forced another turnover. Returner Johnny Bauer muffed a punt at the 17 yard line, and junior Stewart Saharic fell on it at the 11, giving the Devils great field position. Five plays into the drive, junior Josh Rainey plunged in for a one-yard score. FDU forced a third turnover of the frame, as senior Isaiah Turner picked off Sean McGaughey at the Widener 48 yard line. The Devils were unable to capitalize, and turned the ball over on downs. Bauer atoned for his earlier muffed punt, racing 59 yards for a score and put the Pride back on top. The lead lasted exactly 54 seconds. Rainey lined up as the QB and pulled the ball down to run. The junior raced into the endzone for a 74 yard score, giving the Devils the 21-17 lead. After a succesion of punts, Widener had one final chance to win the game. Facing a 3rd and 9, Vierling's pass was intercepted by senior Ryan Wilson. Vierling was pressured enough by freshman Kenny Hands, and the Devils kneeled the ball three times to send the crowd home happy. Rainey became the first Devils rusher to break 100 yards since Steve Iannone did last year against Misericordia. It was the first time FDU broke 200 yards on the ground as a team since facing King's last season. Blackman finished with 60 yards on 16 carries. Panzarino led the way with six grabs for 75 yards. Defensively, Turner and Planter controlled things, combining for 23 tackles and five sacks. Turner had 16 stops with two sacks and an interception, while Planter tallied three sacks. Freshman Deandre Carter registered three tackles and four pass breakups. FDU recognized seniors Raj Gulati, Wilson, Panzarino, Planter, Turner, Green, Darren Jenkins, Eddie Palmadessa, George DiBiase and Joe McCain before the game. The Devils close out the regular season next Saturday, taking on Stevenson at 12 p.m.